That they go to the trash is good user design, to prevent users from doings things like this guy did...
I agree that the user wasn't being super-careful, but it's entirely reasonable to think that, if Google docs appear on your local hard drive, that they are files that can be manipulated just like any others, and that copying/moving them to another folder would preserve their data.
I still feel bad for him - but the warning clearly says:
"An item you recently removed from your Google Drive folder has been moved to your trash on drive.google.com.
This item is just a link. If you empty your trash on drive.google.com, this item will be permanently deleted."
EDIT: re read article . Moving files into local disk deletes them on google drive and makes the moved versions useless links. Now agree with the author: that's goddamned terrible.
EDIT 2: actually the files are always links, but if the links are moved outside google drive the correspondi go data is moved into Google drive trash. See jamesaguilar below. Still goddamned terrible.
The real failure here is that you shouldn't be able to move the drive links out of the drive folder, since semantically that does not actually move the files.
(Filed a bug, but I'm not on the Drive team so I can't really take responsibility for this getting fixed. It does seem like a problem to me, but I don't know their infrastructure nor the limitations of shell extensions, so I can't really comment on whether a fix is feasible either.)
Or stop trying to force a connection between Google Drive's file view and Google Docs.
Move the links out of GDrive all you want, it should have no effect whatsoever on the hosted GDocs. They're just links, after all. Since when does moving or deleting a link delete actual data?
Someone at Google tried to force a connection that doesn't even make sense, and this is the result. Whoever decided that moving a link out of a folder should delete the hosted document should be fired.
There is very little you can do about this, google is okay with it because there's no official offline gDocs viewer/editor so in their minds it doesn't make sense to fill up your harddrive with real files that can't even be accessed on your computer. Also they warn you that those files aren't real under certain circumstances (I've seen the warning before, though I don't remember the context).
Google does not sync the data to you, just a tiny file with the same name as your data that bounces you to the website.
What this alert needs to say is something like this:
WARNING: you have moved this file out of Google Drive WHICH HAS DELETED IT. The file that you moved does not contain your content. It is merely a link back to the original content WHICH IS NOW IN THE TRASH. EMPTYING YOUR TRASH WILL PERMANENTLY DELETE THE DATA AND THE FILE WHICH YOU MOVED DOES NOT CONTAIN A COPY OF IT.
They're destroying the user's data in a scenario where they would not expect it. A teeny little warning buried in an alert filled with other stuff simply does not cut it.
The fact that you need lots of DIRE CAPITALIZED TEXT to get the point across shows, I think, that this whole system is a bad idea.
As blcknight alluded to, this rule is only relevant when the proportion of users for whom it is an issue is non-trivial.
Regardless, I think it's pretty bad design. I would naturally expect a file named "My Document Name.gdoc" that's sitting in a folder on my desktop to actually contain the contents of my document. That's how files normally work. Doing otherwise goes against longstanding convention.
Dropbox would work the same way. Although it might be permanent, but I've never tried something so ridiculous.
It's how EVERY DRIVE in the history of computers work!
If I take my files out of my HD, they will be deleted from the HD. If I move my files out of my flash drive, they will be deleted from my flash drive.
The only way that I would be surprised by this behaviour is if I had never used a computer at all in my life.
No. No, it's not. I have experience with Google Drive, iDrive, SkyDrive and DropBox. The only oddball one that leads to losing data like this is Google Drive.
With SkyDrive, it works very similar to DropBox. Your cloud drive is just a folder on your disk, synched between multiple computers. If you move a file from your cloud drive to your local drive, it moves the actual file - not a pointer to it.
Google Drive is a terrible morass of confusing design. It's not an exaggeration to say they should shut down and start over.
document.gdoc is not a file, you are mistaken